Nothing – GEORGE (A Live Part Time Punks Session, Los Angeles 12.07.2019), self-released 01 June 2020
In light of, and in solidarity with, the wholly justified anger (and the equally justified demonstrations and protests currently taking place) against the completely broken system we are all stuck in — and particularly in light of the undeniable truth that the system is SO MUCH more broken for SO MANY demographic groups other than my own — it has felt appropriate to take some time away from putting out any new content of my own, for the past week or so.
To the extent that anybody ever cares what I have to say about anything, it feels like especially right now, who wants to hear the thoughts and opinions of some random straight white dude? So I’ve been pretty quiet, no writing about music, no news or reviews; and instead trying to use whatever minuscule social influence I have to help spread the words of other people, who are far more relevant to the very serious discussions taking place right now.
But today, the fifth of June, is Bandcamp Friday once again — where the Bandcamp is taking zero fees from anything purchased through their platform — and artists and labels all over the world are taking advantage of the day to pledge donations to a very wide range of social causes. In fact, Bandcamp themselves have put together this lengthy (but certainly not comprehensive) list of folks donating their profits and/or making special limited-edition material or merchandise available for the occasion. They also shared this gigantic list of over 1000 black artists and producers and black-owned labels you may wish to check out today. (A big thank you to those who have put a ton of effort into compiling and continuing to maintain this spreadsheet!)
One new release in particular has really caught my ear this week, and in fact was the impetus for breaking my radio silence. Relapse-based band Nothing (from Philadelphia) has put together a live recording from several months back, and declared that all proceeds will be split among a few dozen community bail funds through Act Blue.
As an added incentive, perhaps, the band has declared that this release (given the title GEORGE to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd, whose murder at the hands of an officer supposedly tasked with “protecting and serving” citizens — combined with hundreds of tragically similar cases nationwide — served as a catalyst for this wave of worldwide protest) will be permanently removed as of midnight. So if you’re interested in hearing it, and especially if you’re interested in supporting the fight against police brutality by purchasing a download, you’ll want to act fast!
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The four-track EP starts off with two songs from 2018’s Dance on the Blacktop album (“Zero Day” and “HOPE is Just Another Word with a Hole in It,” the first and last track from that record, respectively). Both recreate the sullen shoegazey spirit of the studio versions, albeit with a little bit more distortion and noise stitched into the mix. As someone who considers You’d Prefer an Astronaut humankind’s greatest achievement in recorded sound, with Downward is Heavenward close behind in the all-time top ten, I found this catching my attention instantly.
Reaching back a little further, “The Dead are Dumb” comes from 2016’s Tired of Tomorrow. This one presents an even more serene (like, in a Mazzy Star kind of way) style of shoegaze, with fragile and vulnerable vocal harmonies that bring to mind the sort of thing R.E.M. often did (especially when Mike stepped into the forefront on songs like “Texarkana”).
And finally, going WAY back for source material, the set closes out with a rendition of Marcy Playground‘s slacker-alt rock hit “Sex and Candy”; sticking close to the slow-but-steady tempo of the late-90s original, Nothing were able to filter out the song’s quirkiness, leaving behind something placid and beautiful.
Download the album TODAY; pay whatever you can right here.
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